Teach to the Times

One of my goals as an educator is to keep my teaching relevant and accessible. I chose this photograph because the climate crisis is incredibly relevant, and like my classmates have mentioned, teaching history does not have to be “stuck on the past.” Studying history can help us understand our own experiences, just as studying past crises can lend insight to the crises we collectively experience today. 

Keeping our teaching relevant also helps us examine the “lenses” through which we study the past. The climate crisis will impact how we teach the events leading up to it, including industrialization, international politics, natural disasters, and environmental policy. My goal is to help students see that “history” is a constantly evolving dialogue, influenced by the present as much as the past. 

5 Replies to “Teach to the Times”

  1. I once dabbled in teaching history backwards. Starting with current events and then looking for roots of what was going on. I agree with you that it can make history more relevant when students are able to sift through the past to try to make sense of the present.

    Also make for great debate fodder – is the debate over some future war related more to Chamberlain giving Hitler the Sudetenland or US going to war with Iraq?

  2. This is a really great meme, Casey! I feel like it does a good job of tying together a lot of aspects of teaching social studies, like observing the past and applying it to the present to find meaning in what you are teaching/learning. Plus, it’s an extremely useful skill to have students apply what they know about the past to modern times (especially a time like now where the political and social spheres are booming with classroom talking points). Really awesome job; I can totally see this as a poster in a future classroom!

  3. I love this mentality towards teaching! History is one of those subjects that is so broad, but also so specific. There are so many stories that have been told and so many stories that you may have to dig a little to find. But the stories you sometimes dig for can be really helpful in connecting the dots to today. Plus it just makes things more interesting to students if you can relate the past to something they’re interested in or are familiar with. With this mentality towards teaching you’re going to be able to keep your kids engaged and interested in what it is you’re teaching.

  4. Your meme made me laugh! I enjoyed your text, as well. It reiterated to me the importance of challenging our students with new materials and engaging them beyond provided department texts. Thanks for sharing your insight and humor!

  5. Casey, your meme is an excellent reminder to that climate change is an issue we should weave into our respective curriculum. I appreciate your acknowledgement of lenses with which we will approach our topics. I also like Renee’s vision of your classroom poster!

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